Subjective cognitive complaint in healthy older adults: identification of major domains and relation to objective performance

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2014;21(3):257-82. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2013.795928. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


This study analyzed complaints across a range of memory domains in middle-aged and older adults, as well as assessed their relationship with objective cognitive performance and personal characteristics. A total of 115 community-dwelling, healthy adults between the ages of 45 and 87 completed the Self-Evaluation Questionnaire (QAM) and were tested with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. A principal component analysis identified seven dimensions of complaint. Difficulty inhibiting internal and external sources of interference when learning or remembering something was the main area of complaint and it was correlated with word-list recall and Digit Symbol. We identified complaints related to a set of memory failures that appear to be more detrimental to autonomy and safety. These were correlated with a measure of functional autonomy and might, therefore, indicate more severe difficulties. Overall, this study provides indications regarding the main domains of memory complaints and identifies which complaints are most reflective of objective cognitive problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests